MotoGP 2022 – Round Seven
SHARK Grand Prix de France
MotoGP Rider Quotes
Enea Bastianini – P1
“I’m surprised with this result, which shows the great work done by the whole team. This has been far from an easy weekend as I gave my mechanics plenty of work, but we gave it all on the track and this win is for all of us. We did well in finding the right moment to attack and we scored another key victory. Satellite teams can do really well in this championship, and we’ll continue to keep our heads down ahead of Mugello.”
Jack Miller – P2
“It’s so great to be back up on the podium here in France after being up there in the battle the last two races, that’s for sure. I just hadn’t been able to do anything with it, until today anyway. Finishing second, that’s my best result since I won here last year, and it’s amazing how one result can turn things around. It felt like a reward for the hard work the team and me had been putting in.
“I was 11th in the championship coming into this race, but it was so tight and I’d already done the others a favour by not finishing two races. This time it was some of the others who didn’t get to the end, I get on the podium, and bang – up to fifth place. That’s not going to happen every race, but I do feel I’m back where I should be now. Makes a good day even better.
“The boys rode a strong race up the front and Pecco clearly wanted to pass me early on after I’d beaten him off the start, and he had a bit better speed than me. I wasn’t going to fight him too hard, and I felt we could work together and get away from the others. I had good grip with the soft front tyre but I wasn’t able to really push like I wanted on the right-hand side, but I’d made my mind up that I was definitely going to race the soft front even though it was pretty hot and some of the other boys changed at the last minute. Every time I tried the medium front tyre this weekend I fell off, so that 100 per cent wasn’t an option for me for the race. Used the medium twice, crashed twice. Didn’t want to make it three. At least with the soft, I was able to understand where I was on the tyre.
“I saw (Enea) Bastianini was coming and he put the move on me, and I didn’t have anything for him so was back to third. Pecco then fell off which got me back to second, and it was all about keeping my head from there. Aleix (Espargaro) behind me had his hands full with Fabio (Quartararo) so it was all about me making no mistakes and doing what I had to.
“Enea’s always so strong at the end of the race – he did it to me late in the race in Austin and he’s done it some other times too – he’s got good drive, he’s good on the tyres and he rode the perfect race, I think. Didn’t make any mistakes – maybe started firing it into a few corners a bit deep later on, definitely at Turn 8! But congrats to him, he did an awesome race. He’s won three races now this year, he’s doing a fantastic job, he’s riding a Ducati, he’s Italian … his future looks pretty good, I’d say.
“The pace was pretty red-hot all weekend really, on Saturday even from practice the pace felt unreal. The grip was there and the way you could use the tyre was impressive, and I ended up on the front row here again. You almost had too much grip! Le Mans seems to like me, because that’s inside the top four in qualifying the last four times we’ve been here. To break a lap record in qualifying, one that had stood for basically five years by more than half a second … it’s impressive. Pecco just got me in qualifying so fair play to him, I was right behind him on his pole lap so I had the best seat in the house really. To be second … my lap was pretty loose so there wasn’t much more time to be had than that!
“It’s so good to be back on the box, and amazing to do it in front of this unreal French crowd – it took me ages to come in on the cool-down lap because I wanted to give them all a wave and a rev-up because they’d been awesome all weekend. After no fans here for a couple of years, seeing 100,000 of them was pretty special, so I wanted to say thanks to everyone and let them know we appreciate them all coming out … it was just a good weekend.”
“What we are doing is unbelievable. Even here, on a difficult track and with a less-than-perfect feeling, I managed to finish on the podium, even closing the points gap behind Fabio. My pace was good today but as soon as I got close to the rider ahead of me, managing the front end became critical, so I tried to keep up without making any mistakes. I did just that, even when Quartararo caught up with me, changing my riding style a bit to make it hard for him to overtake. It is a great result. We’re in the battle for the World Championship and it’s a privilege for me to battle with these riders and at this extremely high level.”
Fabio Quartararo – P4
“I expected much better from this race. My start was not good. I had the pace of the top guys, but this was the best I could do. It was difficult to overtake, so we need to improve this. But I didn’t give up. I nearly had a few crashes during the race, but I always give my 100 per cent, in this case to fight for the podium today. We need to take more risks so I can defend my lead in the championship.”
Johann Zarco – P5
“I am quite happy, we brought home some important points and I had a good race. I didn’t get a very good start and after that there was too much of a gap to aim for better positions. Anyway, I got some good feelings back and the goal is to do well at Mugello.”
Marc Marquez – P6
“I said yesterday that with a good race our position would be fifth, sixth or seventh and we finished sixth – even if our real position was ninth because there were some falls. It was a solid race at our pace, but it was a really long race and I wasn’t able to push towards the end. All we can do is keep on working, that’s the best way to improve for the future. My target is not just to be finishing as top Honda, it’s to be finishing on the podium but we are not there yet. There’s still more to understand in the next races to close the gap to the front.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P7
“It was a tough race, but I made an amazing start from P12 and got upto fourth, but then on the first and second laps I wasn’t strong enough and I dropped some positions. I gave my best and the second half of the race to the end was really difficult because I didn’t have a good feeling with the front end and it was hard to keep my pace. Anyway, we managed to finish P7 from P12, which is good, and I think we’ve made a step forward. We need to keep improving in the next race, but for today, P7 is a great result and I want to thank the team for their efforts. Next we have Mugello which is an amazing track where I am fast and hopefully we can have another good result.”
Brad Binder – P8
“It was an incredibly tough weekend for us. It started in a difficult way in FP1 and I made a good step for FP2 but it was difficult from then on. In the race I fought hard and did my best. I lost my left wing early and after that life was tricky! The bike was super-unstable and I had to fight like hell. It was physically draining and took a lot more focus than usual to do the same job. Thanks to my team. They worked extremely hard and we did the best job we could. Now it’s time to look forward and get back to where we want to be.”
Luca Marini – P9
“I am happy with the race and satisfied with what we did over the weekend. I was starting from the back of the group and I wanted to put the soft in front to be able to recover as many positions as possible in the first laps. On the grid then I opted, also to start at the same level of the other riders, for the medium. It was not an easy race, alone I was able to keep up a pace of 32.4/32.5 while in the slipstream I have struggled and couldn’t overtake. I lost ground in the first laps and also in the final stages, but surely we close the GP with a positive sign for facing the next races in the best possible way and fix the last aspects that we lack to stay with the strongest riders.”
Maverick Vinales – P10
“I think this was an interesting race for us where we gathered a lot of information in anticipation of Mugello and the upcoming races. We discovered that we are not far off but, at the same time, we’ll need to make some changes to the ergonomics to keep me feeling at ease in the saddle.”
Pol Espargaro – P11
“It was a really, really hard race. I think this weekend has confirmed where our problems are and what we need to work on. Our rhythm was not amazing, it was OK, but we weren’t able to overtake as we were losing some time under acceleration and then when I tried to overtake on the brakes, the others were too far. It’s a difficult moment but we keep on trying. Myself as the rider and Honda, we are all working a lot to resolve this situation. In the pre-season we were able to solve these problems so we know it can be improved on.”
Marco Bezzecchi – P12
“A good race, especially the final part. I managed to keep a very good pace, similar to the riders in front of me. At the start, unfortunately, I still pay for a bit of experience, I didn’t immediately have the feeling I would like and then I always find myself having to recover positions. The Team is working very well, Ducati and the Academy are also supporting us in the best possible way. We continue like this for a step forward in qualifying in order to be able to face the early stages of the race in the future.”
Fabio Di Giannantonio – P13
“Finally, a real race. We battled from start to finish and now we’re aware we can put up a fight in MotoGP. Too bad for the small problem in my right arm, which prevented me from having full strength in the joint for the whole race. But we did well: we overtook many riders, so I make my way back to Italy in a happy mood.”
Álex Márquez – P14
“It was a difficult day, at least we made a really good start and did well on the first lap. But I made a mistake at turn eight and a rider overtook me and then after that I made a mistake also in the chicane, so on that lap I lost two positions and then also had the long lap which for me was a little bit unfair. We had a good rhythm in the end, but it was too late. We need to keep making steps, but honestly, it’s quite difficult, because we keep trying things but the improvement was not there. But we’ll stay focused and keep going.”
Franco Morbidelli – P15
“It was a difficult race because I got stuck in the pack. It was tricky to fight with the guys, and I didn’t have the perfect front feeling. I couldn’t make a lot of speed in the middle of the corner. In the end, we got one point, which is a trust injection. We saw some good things and good speed this morning on used tyres, so things are there. We just need to understand how to put them together. The task is difficult, but we can do it!”
Andrea Dovizioso – P16
“I expected much more from this weekend. I’m very disappointed but it just confirms that the way to ride this bike does not match the way I ride it. At this moment I’m not able to change all that, I’m very sorry and disappointed. We move on to Mugello and see what can be done”
Darryn Binder – P17
“Today was a difficult race for me. I’m a little bit disappointed with my performance. I really expected myself to do a bit better. I had a very good start, passed a lot of guys in the first corner but unfortunately, I made a mistake and ran wide in turn three on my second or third lap. After that, I really struggled throughout the race to be consistent and have a good pace. I have some things to work on and we’ll see in Mugello.”
Francesco Bagnaia – DNF
“Today, everything was perfect, until the crash! After going wide at Turn 8 and losing ground to Bastianini, I didn’t think about going to catch him right away because I knew I was fast, but at Turn 13, I made a mistake and crashed. Today we lose 20 important points for the standings, and it becomes more difficult to recover, although the Championship is still long: we can’t afford to make any more mistakes in the next races”.
Joan Mir – DNF
“It’s a shame to finish the weekend like this, and obviously it’s not what I wanted. I made a solid start, and I was working to preserve the tyre and keep my riding style smooth, but I felt quite on the limit with the front tyre and I need to work more on that. Losing the front was my mistake, when you’re following riders nowadays in this category it can be difficult to stop the bike and I didn’t manage it very well today. Normally I struggle in Le Mans and today we were fighting for something great, so I’m proud of that and we’ll keep trying.”
Alex Rins – DNF
“Luckily, I’m OK. If you run off at that corner, like I did, it can be very easy to get hit by another rider – thankfully the guys avoided me and nothing bad happened. I had already recovered some positions and I felt strong, but when I was behind Pecco (Bagnaia) I think I got a little bit more slipstream pulling me into the corner. When I was in the gravel I was just trying to keep the bike upright, but as I exited I was at a slight angle and that caused me to crash. As soon as the lights went out I pushed to be at the front, and I know my potential for good results in the next races is high.”
Jorge Martín – DNF
“I am disappointed because the pace has been good all weekend and I am sure I could have had a good race. I had a pain in my arm so I had a lot less feeling, which led me to make a mistake under braking and I crashed.”
Miguel Oliveira – DNF
“The weekend didn’t start well and I didn’t know what to expect from FP2 but I think it was also one where we improved the most. The race was hard, as we expected, but we tried hard and gained positions. We were inside the top ten but then we crashed going through Turn 3 and I really cannot explain why it happened as I did nothing differently compared to the previous laps. It is quite frustrating not to finish a race when you are so close to the end especially close to a good result. We have to go to Mugello with a positive mindset and try our best there.”
Remy Gardner – DNF
“It was a very difficult weekend for us here at the French Grand Prix. We struggled to find a good pace or the right settings on Friday and Saturday, but today it seemed that we had managed to make a little step. Another rider closed the door under my nose, I did a high side, and retired unfortunately.”
Raul Fernandez – DNF
“The most important thing today is that I am ok after my crash so I feel lucky. I am really disappointed with myself. Before exiting the garage, I told myself that I had to finish the race for my team, for their home Grand Prix, so I want to apologise to them. At the start of the race, I pushed too much trying to catch the group of riders ahead of me, and I ended up making a mistake and crashed, losing the front tire. Although my hand still hurts, today I was getting closer to Remy and the other KTM riders, so it is a great shame.We are going through a tough period right now. We need to continue to work hard and find how we can improve our bikes so we can be faster and feel more confident on them. The goal is also to enjoy riding, because when you fight at the back of the grid, it is not very fun.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director
In order to fight for the win, we have to prepare for the race in a perfect way: do a perfect qualifying and also have a perfect start. When you can‘t get a perfect start, like Fabio today, it gets difficult, even while Fabio‘s speed would have allowed him to achieve a different ending position. To overtake on tracks like this, with this circuit lay-out, is very complicated for us. We have to manage this situation race by race. It was a difficult weekend for Franky. Even though his feeling with the bike is improving slightly, to start from the 7th row is too far back on the grid for us to be able to come back from. We leave Le Mans behind us now and look forward to the next race in Mugello, which is our team‘s home race.
Livio Suppo – Suzuki Team Manager
“Nobody expected this result, but at the end of the day it’s better to have two riders who are capable of fighting for the podium, even if they had small mistakes and didn’t finish, rather than be struggling at the back all weekend. We have been competitive from Friday morning onwards, which means we can be happy about our performance. I want to give a big thanks to the team and the riders, they have been very focused on the task at hand and have done a great job.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“This weekend we had the potential, with both riders, to fight for the podium. But it was a great pity because they both had crashes and we come away with no points. The last few years we’ve struggled a lot here, but this weekend we turned that around and we were actually very strong from the beginning. Mugello is coming next, and we’ll keep our minds on fighting for podiums and victories.”
Francesco Guidotti – Red Bull KTM Team Manager
“Brad’s top ten is something we have to be happy about considering the start of the weekend, and, coming from the sixth row it was not easy to catch a result like that. The riders’ comments made us confident for the future because we think we found something for the race that worked better compared to the rest of the weekend, so there are some positives. We will be stronger and stronger in the near future; I’m convinced of this because we are working very hard. The competition is high and we know we need to improve our qualifying and give the guys a better bike from the first sessions. In general: a difficult weekend but the race gave us some good and useful information.”
Razlan Razali – Team Principal WithU Yamaha RNF
“I think this is one of the most disappointing, difficult and frustrating race for the team and for Yamaha, except for Fabio (Quartararo), who seems to be the only one that can ride this bike and finished fourth, while the other three Yamaha riders are in the last three positions. It was a hard and difficult race and we need to definitely change something for the next race in Mugello. What we can do is continue and work hard to find the best solution to improve and be better than this, not to give up and try to turn our season around as soon as we can.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager WithU Yamaha RNF
“To end up round seven in Le Mans in 16th and 17th is not where we wanted to be. But finishing the race and gathering a lot of data and getting a rhythm for Darryn was important. Of course, Andrea is not satisfied with this position and especially with the grip. So there is definitely work for us to be done, let’s pack up, go to Mugello and try to make bigger steps.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“Let’s start with the positives: Claude Michy, the event organiser, together with his team, did a fantastic job. I believe history was written as we had 110k fans here at the French Grand Prix, a record-breaking attendance. It is a sign that MotoGP is going well and keeps growing. I would like to congratulate him, and I hope that other organisers will look at what he has achieved this weekend. We also had great weather all weekend long, something that we were praying for, so everything was set for a great Sunday.
Unfortunately, for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing, it was a weekend to forget. Both our riders crashed early stages in the race today. We are not far from the disaster because it is not very often that both riders crash. It is a shame because I think that Remy Gardner was doing a good job as he was in P16 when he crashed, and it was one of his best starts since the beginning of the year. This weekend was rather positive for him as both his feeling on the bike and his lap times improved. Raul Fernandezwas back from his nasty wrist injury and still felt a lot of pain riding his bike, but he still wanted to race. He felt good today but was too ambitious when trying to catch the other riders and he ended up crashing.
We are sorry that we could not do better in front of our home crowd, but we have to try to keep positive, keep working, and hopefully the hard work of all the team will pay off. We look forward to going to Mugello in two weeks.”
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